This year for Christmas, we picked out only a few simple gifts for Joy. We’re big believers in gifting only a few presents for celebrations, and since our little family is in the very beginning stages of setting traditions & expectations, we want to start being intentional about this minimalist practice now.
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One of the biggest reasons we built a Tiny House was to pare down on our items and have less of an attachment to physical things. We wanted to value experiences above things you can hold, wear, and show off- and even though we don’t live in a Tiny House anymore, those same values are still close to me. We want to raise Joy in a way that that upholds contentment over a consumerism attitude, memories over objects, and giving above receiving.
At the same time, we want what we choose for her to be quality, not just something that she’ll loose interest in a few months or (worse) break before then. There’s this awesome mantra you’ve probably heard, but I’ll repeat because it’s that good-
Something they want,
Something they need;
Something to wear,
Something to read.
I love this little jingle and thing it’s so great to get inspiration from, but I think it’s important that every family creates their own gift list that fits their family and their child best. Take this list as inspiration for what it means to pare down, and then personalize it from there.
For example, obviously, Joy doesn’t really have real ‘wants’ yet – at least, not that she can communicate to us. We also are fortunate to be in a good place where we don’t need to buy her any clothes – which is a relief because I hate giving & receiving clothes as gifts, anyway.
So, without further ado, I wanted to share with you what shopping small (and minimally) looks like for us this year.
Wooden Animal Puzzles
Joy doesn’t have any puzzles yet, and lately she’s been so into animals. Like, so. into. animals. She could spend a whole 30 minutes just reading a book with animals in it and be content. In the past few weeks, she’s learned to say ‘dog’ and tries to imitate its bark.
So to me, getting her something animal-themed that also encouraged her motor skills was a must-have. I’m sure these are going to be a big hit (at least, I do hope so!). Hape is one of my favorites as far as wooden toys go, well made and non-toxic finishes, so adding that with these adorable puzzles was a win/win.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear
I do try to hold a minimalist approach to how many different toys Joy has, but books is where I slack a little bit. I wouldn’t mind if she grew up a bookworm, and honestly she’s well on her way. Remember how I said she could stare at a animal book for 30 minutes? She could also listen to you read the exact same book for another 30 minutes. Out of all of her toys, the books get the most wear and tear. So, I figured since this one has incredible reviews about increasing language skills and, simply, is a classic, it couldn’t hurt to add it to the library.
See this on Amazon: Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
Elise- a Haba Doll
Okay, I can’t lie- this is my personal favorite this year! Jeff had the brilliant idea to get her a big-girl dolly that would grow with her. So, the search began for a well made, baby and toddler friendly doll that would (ideally) entertain her for years to come. We searched through all different kinds of dolls -so many cute ones! – but loved the tomboyish attire of Elise and the fact that she shares Joy’s middle name. And oh my gosh, she is so adorable! I am so excited to see how Joy reacts to Elise and half-hoping she’ll hug her really tight!
See this on Amazon: HABA Elise Doll
And yes – I took all these photos while Joy was awake with me and in the room. She didn’t see any of them, and just babbled and walked around. Here she is, completely clueless, making some cute mix of a shout and a ‘hi’.
That’s the entirety of what Joy’s getting for Christmas this year (well, that plus a Bernstein Bear book especially from Daddy). When we first received the package with all of her brand new toys in it, it seemed like so little – definitely not what I was used to growing up! But I’m excited that I truly am happy with the money we spent, and that I know each of these things will be good either for her development or just a little bit of extra fun that will last beyond a few months.
What’s your favorite gift you are giving this year?